My name is Alec Puente and I just started as the Government Relations Director here in Texas. I wanted to introduce myself and share a bit about what we’ll be working on together as legislative session begins in January.
I grew up in San Antonio but have lived in Austin since moving here to attend the University of Texas and staying for law school. I've spent time in several roles in and out of state government and I’ve seen the huge impact the American Heart Association and advocates like you have on public policy. I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to work on policies to improve the heart health of our friends and neighbors all across Texas.
This will no doubt be a unique legislative session in light of the ongoing pandemic and the need to balance safety with meaningful advocacy from the public. Unfortunately, the details of how exactly that will work won’t be sorted out until lawmakers vote on rules in January. It is likely that public access to the Capitol will be greatly restricted, and events like large committee meetings and lobby days will take place virtually. Don't worry - we're already hard at work creating innovative opportunities for our advocates to stay involved throughout session.
Here's a sneak peek of what we will be working on in 2021:
❤️ Telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) legislation to train emergency communicators across the state to assist callers on how to provide high-quality CPR in the crucial moments before responders first arrive.
❤️ Tobacco control policies including a need for e-cigarettes to be taxed at the same rate as traditional combustible cigarettes.
❤️ Protect public health funding in the state budget, especially as lawmakers respond to the impact of the pandemic on revenues.
As you can see we will have our hands full but together, we will work to create a healthier Texas for all. Stay tuned for more information on our legislative priorities, virtual opportunities to advocate from the comfort of your home and so much more!
One final thing, we want to be able to get info to you quickly about critical votes at the Capitol and we need your digits to make it happen. Take just a minute today to opt-in and be the first to know about the great things happening at the AHA! Simply text TEXAS to 46839 to add your name to our list!
Texas Government Relations Director